To say that the Derek Jeter contract negotiations are not going that well is an understatement. Knowing both sides, I did not think that it would be quick signing. However, never in my wildest imagination did I think it would come down to this.
The fact that the Yankees and their Captain are three years and 30-50 million dollars apart is not a shock to the system but the barbs coming out of each camp are shocking to say the least. When the Yankees made their initial offer of 3 years at 15 million per, Jeter’s agent Casey Close stated that the offer was “baffling”. The Yankees responded by suggesting that the legend test the market. Now I’m not suggesting that this situation compares to what is going on Capitol Hill but things are getting ugly.
There are those who believe that that the Bronx Bombers should just give Jeter a blank check and tell the Captain fill in the blank. They claim that the Yankees owe Jeter whatever he wants based on what he has done for the organization, winning five championships during his tenure and, also, the way he has carried himself in while in pinstripes. That maybe true to a point. However, offering Jeter 15 million dollars per for three years is more than a generous offer considering he is approaching his late ‘30’s, he plays the toughest position in the sport and is coming off a down year.
If you consider that the best middle infielder Hadley Ramirez is making 11 million and is in his prime, then paying Jeter 15 million per on the down swing of his career is a nice compensation package for all that he has done for this organization. I can live with them giving him even 18 million. That would be a good will gesture. But I think that if Jeter is expecting 20-25 million, I do believe he is going to get his feelings hurt.
I know that the Captain is looking at Alex Rodriguez’s contract and believes that he deserves something similar, especially, when you consider what he has meant to the organization. First, A-Rod is a power hitter and they get that type of money. Singles and hit-for-average generally do not. Besides, Alex had the Yankees between a rock and hard place and he took advantage of the situation. With A-Rod and Mark Teixeira already signed to long term extensions and the available free agents on the market in the near future, the Yankees are not going to tie up any more big money on aging players regardless what is on their resume. Brian Cashman does not want the Yankees to end up like the Steelers of the early ‘80’s or the Celtics of the early ‘90’s when they held on to their aging superstars for sentimental reasons.
When all is said and done, I do believe that Jeter will get his 3000th hit in pinstripes and that he will retire as a Yankee. He wants to end his career as a Yankee and maintain the legacy as one of the biggest names in this storied franchise’s history. He cannot do that in a Mets, Red Sox or Giants uniform. No team will come close to paying Jeter what the Yankees can nor should they. Even if it is from a revenge point, it will not make that much sense. Jeter is really only worth that type of money to the Yankee Brand and the Yankee Brand still needs Jeter.